1. Heresy transports physical clothes to a virtual world
Heresy SS18 Look Book by Studio Creme, London
London – Clothing brand Heresy’s spring/summer 2018 campaign uses 3D scanning to show its latest collection.
The project, led by Studio Crême, explores the brand's core themes, such as British mysticism and folklore, in a new context. 3D-scanning technology enabled the studio to swap human models for avatars and then juxtapose these figures with a range of vernacular hand-made ceramics and ancient symbols in a surreal digital mash-up. Drawing inspiration from the brand’s archive of arcane objects and books, the creatives also collected ‘bizarre reference imagery for everything from ancient stone circles to traditional pagan festivals’ to create the piece. ‘We wanted the whole campaign to have a sense of the unreal about it,’ says Studio Crême co-founder Jack Featherstone.
Heresy is just one example of a brand exploring how digital avatars can act as brand ambassadors. For more on why avatars may be the key future fashion influencers, read our microtrend.
UK – Finnish brand Lumene is bringing its Nordic vision of beauty to the UK market with a naturally sourced skincare and beauty range.
The brand celebrates its Made in Finland ethos with local ingredients such as Arctic cloudberries, birch sap and pine bark. With the region’s unusual light cycle, Nordic plants have evolved to survive and thrive under extremely challenging conditions.
‘This strange light phenomenon stimulates Arctic plants to produce unparalleled high levels of potent nutrients and antioxidants,’ the brand said in a statement. ‘It is their way of protecting themselves against the environment. We capture the power of these unique light-charged actives and channel their benefits.’
UK – Inspired by the 2016 discovery of plastic-eating enzymes, scientists from the University of Portsmouth and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have developed an enzyme that is even more efficient at degrading plastic bottles.
The team used X-rays to examine the structure of the original enzyme, from which point they were able to manipulate the components and improve its ability to process plastic. ‘Having access to this facility allowed us to see the 3D atomic structure of PETase in incredible detail,’ explains University of Portsmouth professor John McGeehan. ‘The inner workings of this biological catalyst provided us with the blueprints to engineer a faster and more efficient enzyme.’
At present, the molecule can break down PET (polyethylene terephthalate), the plastic found in drinks bottles, within a few days. Scientists are optimistic that this rate can be accelerated, thus making the process viable on an industrial scale. This could contribute towards the UK government's commitment to reducing plastic waste over the next 25 years.
Super-Synthetics by Maria Idicula Kurian, London
4. Pinterest caters for the visually impaired
Pinterest assistive features for the visually impaired
Global – The image discovery platform has announced the release of several features across its app and website designed to aid those who are visually impaired.
Following an accessibility audit, Pinterest has now adjusted its colour contrast display to help viewers with sensitivities to bright hues as well as those with poor vision. The site also includes focus indicators that enable people to use the keyboard and other devices for navigation, and better screen-reader support to make the process of browsing, searching and saving easier.
In our design direction Implicit Inclusivity we explored how brands are beginning to recognise the many untapped opportunities for creating assistive products and features for those with disabilities.
5. Americans are increasingly defending their beliefs
A new study from research firm Hall & Partners found that Americans were highly engaged in cultural protests throughout 2017.
As activism has evolved and expanded further in today’s digital era, the firm was keen to reconsider the definition of ‘protest’ to include various forms of expression ranging from mass demonstrations to donating to victims of tragedies.
In addition, the research discovered that activism went beyond individual expression, with 35% of participants choosing to support brands that directly aligned with their beliefs.
The study also disproved the notion that most protestors are based in larger metropolitan cities such as New York, with citizens located in middle America shown to also be highly engaged in social change.
6. Thought-starter: Why are alcohol brands becoming hoteliers?
Junior creative researcher Holly Friend investigates a new type of hotel, where alcohol is not confined to the bar, but is at the core of the hospitality experience.
With the number of UK distilleries rising by 107% since 2012, alcohol brands are under pressure to offer a point of difference and create new touchpoints with their consumers beyond the bar or liquor store.
While distillers and brewers have for years been hosting tours and open days for guests keen to learn more about the alcohol they are drinking, brands are now opening on-site guest rooms to give visitors a more immersive look at their inner workings.
One brand leading this shift is BrewDog, which recently announced that it is building two craft beer hotels in Aberdeenshire and Ohio that are due to open over the next year. Both hotels will overlook the brand’s brewery at the location, enabling guests to experience the production process from the comfort of their rooms, while in-room beer taps will provide a modern alternative to traditional room service.